INT. LIVING ROOM NEAR MIDNIGHT
ALICE, aged between ten and twelve, sits in front of a dead Christmas tree with ornaments falling off. You can see the legs and shoes of older people moving in front of her. She looks up toward the camera and it pans to a black and white television. A New Year’s Ball drops into the year 1979.
EVERYONE: Happy New Years!
Alice’s father, FRANK grabs her arm and pulls her up.
FRANK (slurring): I told you to go to bed hours ago.
ALICE: Mom said I could stay up until the ball dropped.
Frank drags her through the crowd and pushes her up the stairs.
FRANK: You think I fucking care what your mother says?
Alice looks to her mother who chugs from her beer and takes a joint from a guest.
INT. ALICE’S BEDROOM MORNING
Alice gets out of bed, goes to the window. She squints at the sun glinting off the snow. She shivers and is startled by bottle smashing against a wall down stairs.
INT. LIVING ROOM MORNING
Alice walks over half-passed out people scattered across the floor and into the kitchen. Frank’s back faces Alice. Her mother, KAREN, is backed in the corner.
FRANK: Don’t lie, Karen, I saw you with him.
Karen: No, no, you’re wrong.
He slaps her.
FRANK: See what you make me do?
He punches the wall and walks out of the kitchen. Alice opens the refrigerator and there’s nothing in it but two beers, mustard, and moldy cheese.
INT. LORA’S BEDROOM NIGHT
Alice and LORA are tucked into bed, and Lora’s MOTHER lays Lora’s robe over a chair and sits on the side of the bed.
LORA: Please mom. Can Alice be my sister?
LORA’S MOTHER: If you two were sisters you would never get any sleep! And you would just fight over all the pretty dresses.
ALICE: I swear, we won’t. I can even do chores.
Lora’s mother stands and kisses both girls on the forehead.
ALICE: Please be my mom and tuck me in every night.
Lora’s mom gives her another kiss.
LORA’S MOTHER: Oh, Alice. I would love to have you for a daughter. But you’re parents would miss you.
Lora’s mother turns the light out and shuts the door.
ALICE: No they won’t.
EXT. BACK YARD LATE AFTERNOON
Alice and Lora make castles in the snow.
LORA: You think they noticed you’re gone yet?
They look at each other when they hear Alice’s name called in the distance. They stand, and hold hands.
ALICE: Plan B starts tomorrow.
From across the alley between Alice and Lora’s house they watch Frank stagger toward them, red faced and ranting.
Frank: You no good…lying little bitch. You’ve got your mother all worked up. You know that only pisses me off.
The girls squeeze their hands tighter. Frank grabs Alice’s other hand and pries her away from Lora; he drags her back across the alley. She stumbles and Frank nearly falls over.
FRANK: Pick up your goddamned feet.
INT. ALICE’S BEDROOM
Frank has a letter in his right hand and his left over Alice’s throat.
FRANK: I told you ‘NO boys’ and here you are getting love letters.
Frank pushes her against the wall. Her lips quiver and tears roll in steady streams down her face.
ALICE (mumbles): I’m sorry…I’m sorry.
He opens the window and bends her backwards over the ledge, she screams.
FRANK: Shut up, you shut up! If I didn’t love you so much, I would just throw you out the window.
ALICE: I’m sorry.
Karen walks in the room and rushes to Frank and Alice.
KAREN: Let her be Frank. She’s a little girl. Please, please.
Frank lets his grip loosen around Alice; he pulls her back to standing position. Karen grabs his hand, and tugs him slowly out of the room.
FRANK (to Karen): Yeah, go get all gussied up now for the bar. I’m giving you twenty minutes.